Review Summary: Klabautamann's odd mesh of black metal, and progressive rock produces a surprisingly enjoyable outcome.
We live in a world where creativity is simply mixing things together. It seems bands will do almost anything to make themselves standout. From nintendocore, to crunkcore the ridiculous lengths some bands will go to seems virtually endless. Why do I bring this up? This was my initial reaction to "progressive black metal". I had not a clue what to expect, but the thought of blending the two together seemed gimmicky. All these negative first impressions would soon dissipate after my first listen of Merkur
The album starts off with "Unter Bäumen" which gives you general representation of what the album sounds like. Black metal instrumentals intermeshed with progressive instrumentals (rather than having two separate sections). Beautiful acoustic interludes, all laced with shrieking black metal vocals. Trust me, it's more enjoyable than it sounds.
is not what you would expect from your typical black metal band. Lyrics focus on nature in general, rather than the "Hail Satan, burn churches" you may have come to expect from black metal.
My only real complaint is something that doesn't necessarily put Klabautamann at fault, and it's that Merkur
is somewhat hard to get into. The issue lies purely with the mixing of the two aforementioned genres. Black metal fans generally like the speed, and aggressiveness that goes along with it, and while Merkur
has these moments, it regularly hits a brick wall and delves into slower, more progressive sections. This will instantly put a lot of people off. In order to fully extract everything that's going on, you have to enjoy both black metal, and progressive rock. Otherwise you will be waiting for the slower, acoustic sections to be over, and vice versa.